Photograph by Asmaa Zaidan

Bathrooms need bidets to promote cleanliness

I am a simple woman. I listen to Mitski, I miss Trail Room fries and I believe a clean posterior is of utmost importance. I am advocating for the widespread installation and use of bidets at Lewis & Clark, effective immediately.

For those unaware, a bidet is an add-on fixture to a toilet intended to clean users by spraying water at their behind. Most modern versions are electric with switches controlling water pressure. After using the bidet, the user may pat themselves dry with toilet paper. 

In my home, there is a bidet in every restroom. It was a life-changing moment when I first used a bidet years ago. Due to cultural and religious norms, I have always cleaned with water, but a bidet is something else. What follows is an analysis of the three main benefits of bidets.

Bidets are simply cleaner. They can limit germ spread and are considerably more hygienic than toilet paper. 

Bidets are also environmentally friendly. This holds true for a multitude of reasons. First, they are infinitely more sustainable and soluble than their counterpart, the wet wipe. As a substitute for toilet paper, they also reign supreme. According to ​​Justin Thomas, editor of the website metaefficient.com, Americans use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year equivalent to around 15 million trees. Each roll of toilet paper takes around six gallons of water to produce. Because of this, bidets save water. As counterintuitive as this sounds, it is because it uses less water than the production of toilet paper, even that of the recycled variety. 

Finally, using a bidet is great for health and well-being. As someone with a period, I found that a bidet is indispensable. A friend who I recently converted to using a bidet, described it as “life-changing.” Beyond that, it is gentler on the skin than the dry wipe of toilet paper.

The features that bidets can have are endless and wonderful. Some are temperature-controlled or blow warm air to dry the user after washing, others have heated seats, wireless remote controls, night lights or built-in deodorizers and air filters. Others even have Bluetooth speakers. A bidet is not simply a functional tool, it is an experience. 

The bidet is not new. All over the world, bidets are in common use. It is well known that they are popular in Japan, with some 60-70% of households owning bidets. In some European countries such as Italy, it is mandated by law that every house must have a bidet, a law I deeply respect and would like to see passed in the United States in the near future. 

In the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, it has been common practice for centuries to clean with water (interestingly, though, the British that sought to “civilize” peoples in these regions via colonialism do not have similar hygiene standards). Why is it that the U.S. lags behind in the hygiene department?

A critic may claim that bidets are expensive. After a five-second Amazon search, I found a bidet for $30. Of course, if you would like to listen to Mitski while on the toilet, it might run you up a few hundred dollars. However, as I said, I am a simple woman. All I need is a jet stream of water, preferably temperature-controlled, and I am content.

Quite frankly, I am disgusted. I am disgusted that people walk around after defecating and only wipe with dry toilet paper afterward with absolutely no care in the world. If I appear judgmental, it is because I am. LC students must have higher hygiene standards. 

I have seen the evidence: students exiting the restroom with unwashed hands after dropping a deuce. Even so, how can someone walk around unwashed? Do not try to deny it, because no amount of dry toilet paper can get you as right as a bidet does.

My demands are simple, really: A bidet in every single stall on campus, effective immediately. Save the trees, buy a bidet. 

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